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Everything posted by Andrew

  1. I'm sorry to read this, Joel. I hope you can still find a way to get there.
  2. Andrew

    Free Solo

    Absolutely. Being a bunghole is diagnosis-independent. Though, I do find that oftimes speech or behavior that is labeled as obnoxious, rude, etc., is often a part of a person's undertreated or untreated psychopathology. Examples: a hypomanic or undertreated individual with ADHD who is hypertalkative, interrupts frequently, and behaves brusquely. It is a fine line between accepting, excusing, or working with someone's manifestations of psychiatric illness. Joel, your point about the ethical implications of filming this doc is a fascinating one that finally sank in. What a different story it would've been, had Alex plunged to his death as he was being filmed...
  3. Andrew

    Free Solo

    I think you can hardly be faulted for 'missing' something that is not made overt in the film. But I'd say that highly suggestive signs of an Asperger's diagnosis are present, which clinicians, as well as individuals with Aspergers and their families, would pick up on: 1) a father on the spectrum, since this is a highly heritable condition; 2) his food aversions; 3) his touch aversion and particular difficulties with intimacy; and 4) probably even his climbing obsession.
  4. Andrew


    That is curious. I know in Quebecois French that liturgical language gives them their strongest curse words - e.g., tabernak is even stronger than putain, the F-bomb equivalent in French. I guess French elsewhere does similar things, too.
  5. Andrew


    A couple of things keep me engaged in films like this: - I'm assuming that as an American viewer, I'm not the original target audience for a film like Capernaum. I'm going to guess this is far harder hitting for a Lebanese audience, the Beirut bourgeois who drive past the slums on highways during their commute, and are complicit in the country's health care, educational, and prison systems, who don't speak up for immigrant rights. - I'm reminded that poverty is poverty, but looks somewhat different in each country and culture. At least once a day at work, I have to spray Lysol in my office after a patient leaves - not because folks don't want to take care of themselves, but because they're homeless, or if they have a home, they're too broke to run a washing machine regularly. In East Tennessee, addicts try to score Subutex or a Xanax totem pole; on the streets of Beirut apparently, they're drinking Tramadol juice. In its own way, films like these help me from getting more jaded than I already am about the poverty I witness daily, deepening my empathy for the local poor folks. But that's just me... By the way, Ken, at your screening, did you hear anything about the significance of the film's title? It's a curious choice - as I recall, it was the name of Jesus' hometown before he started his ministry. It left me wondering if they're was a Christian underpinning to this film, especially since the only folks who brought joy into the prison depicted were a team of Christian minstrels (per the credits, an actual Benedictine group).
  6. Andrew


    I would've liked to write a full review of this film, but I chose to ride the zeitgeist and write about Leaving Neverland instead. But, after a slow opening 20 minutes (I nearly fell asleep, actually), this film turns into a gut punch. Its depiction of a childhood in poverty in urban Lebanon is devastating, with an incredible performance by its young lead. It's an indictment of toxic parents, but an even broader, searing condemnation of industrial societies that lack a safety net at every level for their most vulnerable (children and refugees both).
  7. Andrew

    Leaving Neverland

    Since this documentary seems to be the cultural event of the moment, I figured it was thread-worthy. Dan Reed's directing technique is workmanlike at best, though he does a commendable job of eliciting a coherent, powerful narrative from two of Michael Jackson's abuse victims. I found James Safechuck and Wade Robson's narratives completely convincing; I suspect the fallout from this doc will continue for quite a while. Here's the link to my review; it's far more personal than usual: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/03/leaving-neverland-honoring-the-effects-of-trauma/
  8. Huh. I felt almost the complete opposite, and said as much in my review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/03/despite-its-hype-arctic-left-me-mostly-cold/
  9. Ikiru strikes me as far less about growing older and far more about waking up. Its theme really seems age-independent, except for its protagonist having plenty of time for unfulfilling life experiences at work and with his son. Without strong persuasion, if nominated, I'd be giving it a 2 at best.
  10. Andrew

    Never Look Away

    My first five star review since First Reformed: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/02/never-look-away-a-masterpiece-of-artistry-and-survival-through-nazism-and-communism/ Here's a link to the A&F discussion of the director's earlier work, The Lives of Others: And here's a link to a very interesting discussion of the film, the director, and its subject at The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/01/21/an-artists-life-refracted-in-film?irclickid=wSL3Jq1Ni10%3Axg01KJSVUSBmUkgSr5zFzXNIRA0&irgwc=1&source=affiliate_impactpmx_12f6tote_desktop_Viglink Primary&mbid=affiliate_impactpmx_12f6tote_desktop_Viglink Primary
  11. Very nicely done, folks - well-written, persuasive, and presented in an aesthetically pleasing form. Lots of overlaps between our lists, showing that some of the language may change (pastoral vs. humanistic), but much doesn't (compassion), and that great art is often simply great art. Just one suggestion: you may want to put a link to the Honorable Mention list in Part One.
  12. Andrew

    Roma (2018)

    That is too bad. Klansman certainly carries plenty of social significance, but it's too pat ending kept it off my Best of 2018 list. Roma's long run time was felt by my tuchus, sitting in a Toronto cinema, but other than that I can find no fault with it. I found its focus on Mexico's serving class, as well as the dissolution of Cuaron's family - all set against the social turmoil of the era - quite moving. By spending so much time with members of an overlooked socioeconomic strata, I thought it was deeply humanistic (or spiritually significant if you prefer). I wonder if the frequent complaints here of detachment have something to do with the stoicism/fatalism of the film's protagonist?
  13. I'm good with the proposed dates, only I would give Round 2 an extra week. Of the possibilities Ken mentioned, I would stick with Eligibility Option A, without any of the embellishments suggested. 35% sounds like a good cutoff to me.
  14. I think Sentence #1 remains essential and is indisputable for an honest list ("Citizen Kane is supposed to be the greatest film ever, so I guess I'd better vote for it" should never guide list-making.) I'm far more open to discussion on the cutoff for a film's eligibility mentioned in Sentence #2. I'd be OK with slightly under 50% personally, to give room for great works that don't have a wide audience. My own ranking is similar: 5 is essential, 4 is near-essential, 3 is an ok fit but I'm rather meh about it, 2 is no, 1 is absolutely hell no. I don't think it's a bad idea to request 50% viewership of the list as a qualifier for voting, as long as we leave 6-8 weeks between the formation of the voting list and the close of voting. So far anyway, the list of seconded films is a nice mix of the popular, classic, and esoteric, which would make this requirement doable for any serious film lover.
  15. So, I went a little bonkers and nominated 11 films for the list just now. I'll try not to make this too wordy, but here's my rationale for each: Wes Anderson's films are rather Truffaut-like in their sophisticated looks at man-children and the consequences of their immaturity. The Royal Tenenbaums is probably the best of his films in this regard. It succeeds in shows young adults striving to come to terms with their failures to live up to their precocious potential, as well as Gene Hackman's father figure almost too late growing both older and wiser in his relationships with his adult children. Moonrise Kingdom is more subtle in handling these themes, but the characters played by Norton, Willis, Murray, and McDormand each grow into a wiser, more self-aware, and responsible middle age by the film's end. Speaking of Truffaut, I'm bending the rules a bit in nominating his five films spanning 20 years of the life of his man-child, semi alter ego Antoine Doinel. We see him from his teens to his 30s, beginning with his rebellion against his neglectful, selfish parents in The 400 Blows; to first love in Antoine and Colette; to marriage, fatherhood, and infidelity in Stolen Kisses and Bed & Board; to the potential for more mature attachment in Love on the Run. It's unfortunate that the last film is artistically the weakest of the bunch, because I'm especially touched by how it shows Doinel's maturation as tied to the acceptance of his now-deceased mother's flaws. And I bend the rules again in nominating Linklater's Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy. Each is artistically strong and profound on its own terms, but they're stronger as a whole, in showing 18 years in the lives of their two protagonists, through youthful idealism, disappointed love, parenting, and marital turmoil - each handled realistically with a mix of success and failure. Christopher Nolan strives for thematic depth in his action films, and I think he did this best with Inception. Both DiCaprio's and Cillian Murphy's characters illustrate the process of maturing through grief across two common middle age milestones, the end of a marriage and the death of a parent. DiCaprio comes to accept gratefully the years that he had with his wife, while Murphy accepts that he must become his own individual in the face of his father's disappointment. And this is set against the background of Watanabe's words about the risk of growing old, alone, and full of regret. Kurosawa gets three nominations. Stephen Prince, the best analyst of Kurosawa's oeuvre, rightly points out that Kurosawa's protagonists aged as the director grew older, so these are all late career works. Dersu Uzala shows a tragic aspect of growing older, as its title character loses his faculties but just as significantly cannot keep pace with the changes in the world around him. Kurosawa's Dreams and Rhapsody in August are far more hopeful, both seeming to be exactly the types of films that belong on this list. Dreams' eight stories cover the entire lifespan from childhood to advanced old age, in a way that I would contend is quite psychobiographical. The specter of suicide and trauma hangs over these stories, just as it did for Kurosawa and his family, but the film progresses past this to an embrace of the world and its wonders, to an old age that does not fear death. Rhapsody in August addresses these last points in a more straightforward narrative, showing an incredible survivor of Nagasaki's A-bombing who bravely faces advancing age (and likely dementia) through family, community, and spirituality. Probably half or more of Ozu's films could qualify for this list, but besides the already-nominated Tokyo Story, I would recommend Late Spring most vigorously. Chishu Ryu's character exemplifies the sacrificial elements of growing older, namely in nudging his beloved daughter ought the door, despite the vast loneliness this entails. Lastly, I've nominated two films by Paolo Sorrentino. The Great Beauty has much to say about growing older badly, with a just-turned-60 protagonist who has squandered his talents despite the ancient and contemporary splendors of the city surrounding him. Even in contemplating decades past, he can't summon anything more than hopeless cynicism. On the other hand, Youth offers a broader perspective on growing older: Harvey Keitel's character is developmentally stuck, while Michael Caine's is far more open, though hardly struggle-free. We see this in the way he relates to a younger actor, his daughter, his musical output, and his wife with far-advanced dementia.
  16. Title: The Royal Tenenbaums Director: Wes Anderson Year: 2001 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0265666/?ref_=nv_sr_1 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Title: Truffaut's Antoine Doinel series Director: Francois Truffaut Year: 1959, 1962, 1968, 1970, 1979 Language: French IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000076/?ref_=nv_sr_1#director YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Title: Inception Director: Christopher Nolan Year: 2010 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1375666/?ref_=nv_sr_1 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Title: Dersu Uzala Director: Akira Kurosawa Year: 1975 Language: Russian, Chinese IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071411/?ref_=nv_sr_1 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Title: Dreams Director: Akira Kurosawa Year: 1990 Language: Japanese, French, English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100998/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_3 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Title: Rhapsody in August Director: Akira Kurosawa Year: 1991 Language: Japanese, English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101991/?ref_=nv_sr_1 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Title: Late Spring Director: Yasujiro Ozu Year: 1949 Language: Japanese IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041154/?ref_=nv_sr_1 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Title: The Great Beauty Director: Paolo Sorrentino Year: 2013 Language: Italian IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2358891/?ref_=nv_sr_1 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Title: Youth Director: Paolo Sorrentino Year: 2015 Language: English, Spanish, Swiss German IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3312830/?ref_=nm_knf_t1 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Title: Moonrise Kingdom Director: Wes Anderson Year: 2012 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1748122/?ref_=nm_flmg_wr_9 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Title: "Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight" trilogy Director: Richard Linklater Year: 1995, 2004, 2013 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000500/?ref_=nv_sr_1#director YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film):
  17. A couple of things: - I'd like to request that point #8 in the nomination thread ("Trilogies and series of films shall be considered as separate films") be considered a guideline, rather than a hard and fast rule. I think, for example, that the five films in the Truffaut's Antoine Doinel saga merit consideration, whereas any single film in that series, probably not. Ditto (maybe) for Linklater's "Before" trilogy. - Please don't take any relative lack of participation on my part over the next couple of weeks as indicating a lack of enthusiasm. One of my parents is currently quite ill, plus I'm leaving in a couple of days to visit my college-age daughter who is doing a semester over the border in Quebec. "Growing older" themes are far more than theoretical for me, lately...
  18. I would go for the non-esoteric, for broader appeal. Keeping the title simple has its virtues, too; I like "Growing Older" or "Growing Older and (Hopefully) Wiser," the latter giving room for films that are illustrative of instances of aging poorly.
  19. I'm sorry you experienced this, Darren, but I'm not surprised. I'm sure I would've left the church sooner or later anyway, but the church's response to my vicarious traumatization of hearing hundreds of trauma narratives from combat vets with PTSD was much the same as you describe, and was a nail in the coffin of my belief and praxis. If I attempted to discuss it, I was typically met with silence and less than zero empathy, leaving me feeling an insignificant non-person. And numerous veterans with actual PTSD, not my vicarious traumatization, recounted to me similar experiences that led them to leave the church. What gets published in the Christian press says much to where the heart of the mainstream Protestant and evangelical church is. I can count on two fingers the psychologically insightful books that were written about trauma and faith during my time in the church (Mahedy's Out of the Night and Jones' Trauma and Grace). Maybe this has improved, maybe not...
  20. No, I haven't been, but I'll follow this conversation with interest. This is very exciting - I'm quite happy for you, Joel!
  21. A few quick thoughts: I saw Of Fathers and Sons at the Full Frame Documentary Film Fest, and it's an incredible example of daring filmcraft. It made my best of the year list. As I semi-ranted in my latest review, I think Glenn Close is undeserving of her Oscar nod. I still need to see Capernaum, Border, and Never Look Away - the premises for each sound quite interesting.
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